So the songs of Brian Fallon may well pop up all over this blog, but this one here was my intro. The first time I heard The ’59 Sound I knew I’d found a band I could fall for completely. The mixture of trad rock shapes and gutter punk energy is entirely my sweet spot. The band were introduced to me by my friend Keith who described them as ‘Like The Hold Steady with a real singer and Ramones lyrics’. Like any hybrid descriptions that does all involved a disservice (except Keith, he’s a pillock) but there is a slither of truth in every aspect of the analogy.
TGA got compared to The E Street Band a lot. And Fallon is a disciple of the Boss. Fair enough, I did see them open a Springsteen show in Hyde Park with Bruce as an early special guest on this song.
Watching the half full venue realise the headliner had wandered on five hours early with a tiny band behind him was an absolute treat. The song stood the test. It was the musical highlight of the day despite Springsteen playing a mega set later on that was considered good enough to release on DVD as London Calling.
But the bar room rock and roll does have a shadow of Ramones to it too (for me to say that, is HIGH praise indeed). The way the Ramones took bits of the 50’s rock and roll they fell in love with and made it new, so too do The Gaslight Anthem as they wear their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s influences on their sleeves.
On The ’59 Sound, lyrically the retro filters are set for Dickensian references, the sanctity of a Saturday night and what Boys and Girls in America are doing while having such a sad time together. They’re not as wordy or canonical as The Hold Steady but there’s common ground between that whole Titus Andronicus, Lucero, Drive-By Truckers, D4 vibe of American indie rock that is really just grown up articulate Punk rock.
Musically we’re hitting middle 8’s and catching chorus hooks in every direction. Punk Rock made for the Radio (or the juke box) is a happy thing. The album it comes from is a total gem of a record (As are most of GTA’s output) but this track takes the lead based on that endorsement from The Boss.